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Why aren’t you winning more business?

Winning new clients and projects is the lifeblood of any creative business. But if it’s so important, why is it so poorly understood and why does it get less care and attention than needed? Probably because it’s difficult.

Most of you know your competitors are able to deliver the same quality of work. And you know that your target clients have little time and patience to consider new partners. But many of you are still continuing with outdated ways of going after business, doing the same old things and wondering why they’re not working.

Much of the solution is in clarity. About the type of business you have the best chance of winning. About how to engage the right potential clients. About how much time and effort you should be spending and how to manage the overall process. With these things sorted out, winning more business becomes a lot less difficult.

Let’s look first at the challenge of opening up opportunities. Creating visibility and building awareness are very important, but make sure you are clear on the results you expect and gear the effort accordingly. Don’t confuse this marketing with real sales activity. Too many people are enthusiastically pushing out thousands of bland communications at target clients and being surprised when nothing happens. Truly effective sales initiatives are carefully targeted and make a highly relevant, compelling case to the potential client. So follow-up becomes natural because the case is so well thought through. This way, nothing is an uncomfortable hard sell - just a process of narrowing down the clients who will really benefit from what you have to offer.

And when opportunities do come through, think and plan carefully about how you can progress to doing good work at the right fee levels. Understand the value of winning business without competing and know how to avoid pitches that you have little opportunity of winning, regardless of the number of participants. Then gear your work, enthusiasm and spend to the scale of the prize (assuming you’ve remembered to confirm this at the outset).

Business development requires the right amount of the qualitative and the quantitative - in activities, people and budgets. A lot of activity without the required quality will fail completely. High quality without the required quantity will leave you short.

It’s never easy but with the right approach business development can become one of the more rewarding parts of everyday business life.


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